By JENNIFER LOVEN and JULIE PACE
WASHINGTON - Okay, so it wasn't health care, climate change or war. Still, President Barack Obama's high-profile failure to win the Olympics for Chicago could feed negative narratives nipping at his heels - that he's a better talker than closer, more celebrity than statesman.
And this could hamper his efforts on the weightier issues.
Despite Obama's fabled charm and powers of persuasion, his in-person plea for Chicago to host the 2016 Summer Games fell flat. It was a hugely embarrassing defeat. His adopted hometown - considered a front-runner heading into Friday's voting - didn't just lose, it took last place.
The defeat could soon be a distant memory. But if, for whatever reason, bigger losses start piling up in Obama's corner, his performance in this case could be regarded as emblematic.
Obama tried to put the best face on his trip, saying upon his return to the White House, "One of the things that I think is most valuable about sports is that you can play a great game and still not win." He said he was proud of everyone's effort.
However, almost every aspect of his involvement this week in the Olympics quest recalls a strain of criticism that has been gaining ground on him:
He's trying to do too much at once.
He doesn't have what it takes to close a deal.
He is a celebrity, for sure, but is that always a good thing? Some members of the International Olympic Committee resented the fact that Obama blew into Copenhagen for just five hours, jetting back down the runway toward Washington hours before the result was even announced.
Jennifer Loven is an AP White House correspondent, and Julie Pace reported from Copenhagen.